Fifteen-year-old Ashok was sitting at his study table to prepare for the upcoming board exams. But, instead of studying, he was staring at the wall, absorbed in imagining all the reasons he may not do well in exams and the horrible consequences. He was in such deep thought that he didn’t even notice his father entering the room and walking up to stand beside him.
Looking at his son wasting his time staring at the wall, his father could not prevent himself from admonishing Ashok for being careless about his studies. Although Ashok knew that he was at fault, his father’s scolding did not go down well with him.
Had Ashok confided in his parents about his fears and worries, his father would not have lost his temper and used harsh words to reprimand him. On his part, Ashok’s father may have tried his best to encourage and motivate him, and dispel his sense of self-doubt.
The way Ashok’s father misunderstood him isn’t just limited to Ashok, it is a common phenomenon in every home where there lives a teen.
Teens want their parents to understand them, and treat them in a fair and considerate manner, irrespective of the way they may fare. What teens fail to understand is that they are no longer the little children whose simple thoughts and limited ideas were easily understood by parents. They are now at a stage where they are absorbing a lot of knowledge and information, and have grown up into complex individuals whom parents cannot completely understand. Unless, of course, there exists a clear line of communication.
However, lack of communication or withholding their thoughts and ideas to themselves is a common teen behaviour. This prevents parents from understanding what their teen may be going through. And, instead of providing the much-expected and needed moral support, parents end up rubbing their teen the wrong way.
To help you understand and support your teen, we reveal the 5 truths that you must know about raising teenagers.
1. Teens want parents to understand them: Perhaps the common refrain of teens of every generation, including the present one and perhaps the future, would be, “My parents just don’t understand me.”
The irony is, teens guard their privacy zealously and do everything possible to ensure that they keep their parents out of their personal lives; yet, they want their parents to ‘understand’ them well. But, have you ever wondered why your teen isn’t connecting with you as he did before? The reasons aren’t far to seek. Most teens are put off by their parents’ opinionated attitude and censorious remarks about their actions. This discourages teens from opening up to parents, resulting in the lack of communication and understanding. So, to keep channels of communication open, don’t adopt an overly critical attitude towards your teen whenever both of you engage in a conversation.
2. Teens crave for acceptance: While your teen is developing into an individual who is distinct from others, both within and outside the family, she wants you to accept her as she is. It is this craving for acceptance that makes her form circles or join various groups on social media. As a parent, try to come to terms with the fact that your child is not your shadow but someone who has her own standards and choices. So, instead of trying to change her personality, accept her as she is; of course, do part with the occasional parental guidance when you feel she needs it.
3. Teens are nervous and very emotional: Hormonal changes, along with the stress of coping with various pressures like living up to parental expectations, fitting in with peers, deciding to go with or against the popular opinion, all make your teen a highly-strung individual. As a result, your teen will assess whatever you say not on the basis of reasons or facts but on his prevailing emotional state. In a matter of moments, he can go from being jovial to gloomy. But, now that you understand what your teen is going through, instead of pressurising him to act normal all the time, give him the time and space to recover from his mood swings.
4. Teens want to make a difference: Usually, teens come across as indifferent to, or unaware of, the goings-on around them. However, almost every teen desires to make a critical contribution and be admired as the knight in shining armour. So, when facing a difficult situation, allow your teen to give her inputs and play her role of the problem-solver to the hilt. You will surely be surprised by her resourcefulness, problem-solving abilities and critical-thinking skills.
5. Teens are insecure, anxious, and full of self-doubt: Most teens tend to scoff at the methodical and cautious approach of their parents or other adults towards issues in daily life. They try to present themselves as astute, deft and confident individuals who have a ready-made solution to every problem. However, almost every teen feels insecure when he compares himself with his peers and feels that he is imperfect. When asked to lead the way, teens are overcome with anxiety and self-doubt at the prospect of not meeting the expectations. Keep boosting the morale of your teen with a generous dose of appreciation. In between, also slip in a few nuggets of wisdom to help him deal with issues at hand.
While these five truths would help you understand and deal with your teen in a better way, it would also have reminded you of your teenage years and the problems you faced. Along with our revelations about teens, let your sense of déjà vu also guide you in your dealings with your teen.
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